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Vote To Name The Dallas Zoo's Baby Giraffe

Dallas Zoo
The baby giraffe followed her mother, Katie, around this week. Fans can vote to name her starting Thursday.

The Dallas Zoo has announced three potential names for the baby giraffe that was born in front of a world-wide audience last week.

The three possibilities: Adia (uh-DEE-uh), Kanzi (KAHN-zee) and Kapenzi (kih-PEHN-zee) -- you can go online to vote starting at 5 a.m. Thursday. 

Voting ends April 23. The name will be announced April 24.  

It’s been a wild week for the zoo. Last Friday, Katie the giraffe gave birth to a calf – and Animal Planet provided live coverage. You could watch a livestream online. Since then, Katie’s become a celebrity and the zoo’s been inundated with messages.

The livestream is still up and running -- and you can catch Katie and her baby hanging out. 

Katie’s keepers chose three Swahili names. Adia means “a gift.” Kanzi means “a treasure.” And Kipenzi means “loved one.” Zoo policy calls for animals to be named after their native home.  

“The zoo also has been overwhelmed with heartfelt requests to name the calf after loved ones: children lost to cancer, missing family members, relatives with autism who were touched deeply by the live birth, first responders who gave their lives in service of others, former zoo staffers, and more,” the zoo said in a statement. “However, given the number of requests, it simply wasn’t possible to recognize just one special person.”

Katie and her calf are doing well. The baby weighed in at 139 pounds and is 5 feet, 10 inches tall.

Lydia Jennings, a zoo spokesperson, spoke with KERA about the zoo’s wild week.

Interview Highlights: Lydia Jennings on ... 

How Katie is doing: "She probably has no idea how famous she is across the world. She’s taking great care of her baby. Our baby calf is around 130 pounds, 5-foot-10, and she is just a joy to be around. She is one of the sweetest calves I’ve ever seen. She and Katie have a great time in their maternity stall. She’s running laps around the stall."

Why the Dallas Zoo worked with Animal Planet: "They reached out to a few AZA accredited [Association of Zoos and Aquariums] zoos and we happened to have pregnant giraffe and we were willing to take that chance. We wanted to show people behind the scenes of what it takes to be an AZA-accredited zoo. And that means expert animal care, expert vet care. A lot of people have now made meaningful connections to giraffes who are severely threatened in the wild."

What it took to deliver the baby on TV: "It took so many people working together, nonstop. We’ve been going every single day at this. It took about seven months just to get this finalized. Then it took about two months to get all of the equipment installed. We had 10 HD cameras. We’re tired. We have not gotten a lot of sleep."

On the sweet moment when other giraffes circled the maternity stall to watch the delivery: "That moment just brought tears to all of our eyes. I will never forget it. It was definitely one of the most special moments of the birth. They’re a curious herd. They’re family."

On the zoo worker who did a play-by-play of the birth on the Animal Planet livestream: "Harrison Edell is now the Dallas Zoo’s celebrity. He’s the senior director of living collections at the Dallas Zoo. When he talks, you just want to listen. He’s just in shock at how many people are hitting him up on his Facebook page for a date."

When can we see Katie and the calf? "It’s been raining. The mud on the ground is a huge risk for the calf. We’ll bring the calf out as soon as the ground is dry and we’ll do a big baby shower."

To vote, visit the Dallas Zoo’s site:

Video: Watch the Animal Planet livestream from the Dallas Zoo

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.